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Chris T., JD
Chris T., JD, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 4779
Experience:  I have assisted many customers and clients with their family law questions and I'm experienced in family law litigation.
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Good Morning - - - I had a recent and shocking revalation,

This answer was rated:

Good Morning - - -

I had a recent and shocking revalation, an old relationship revealed that her 12 year old daughter is mine. I asked why now, and she replied - - she was married and didn't want to disolve the marriage. She recently got divorece and now is after me for child support. So....

First things first - need to prove this child is in fact mine

Second need to explore my options - can I make a cash settlement or will this go the hard way?

texlawyer :

Good morning. I'll be assisting you with your question.

texlawyer :

First off, what state are you in?

Customer:

State is Virginia

texlawyer :

OK. Is she willing to give you a DNA sample, or do you think you will have to force it through the courts?

texlawyer :

If at all possible, you would be best served by handling this outside of the court system.

Customer:

I think it will be the other way around - she will force me for the sample

Customer:

I agree - and want to settle this outside the court system if at all possible

Customer:

There are many more reasons to settle vs. the court system however I wanted to make sure its possible

texlawyer :

It is certainly possible to determine paternity outside through private DNA testing. There are lots of facilities that offer it, and usually for around $100.

Customer:

Understood

texlawyer :

As far as your support obligations are concerned, if this ends up in court, a judge CAN order retroactive child support payments.

Customer:

Well - she divorced this year - at least she filed in January however her husband left the country and cannot be located - so its likely she will be granted a divorce via abondoned marriage

texlawyer :

The length of how far back that goes is up to the judge.

Customer:

So what your saying is - even if she's married she's due child support?

texlawyer :

Potentially, yes. One thing to keep in mind is that child support is seen as a property right of the child, not the parent. Essentially, you are giving child support to the child, although the check is written to the parent.

texlawyer :

As such, the parent's marital status is not important.

Customer:

All the more reason to settle this matter via a settlement agreement - - I'm signifcantly exposed - - and its truly unfair

Customer:

keeping this concealed and potentially ruining my happy marriage of 10 years with 2 children is just not fair. I guess fair and what we can resolve are two different things

texlawyer :

I agree, you should be very motivated to settle this out of court. And, yes, it is unfair. But, courts will consistently take the position that unfairness to the parent is preferable if support is going the child.

texlawyer :

I couldn't agree more. The important thing is how this goes from here. It is important that your newly discovered daughter does not suffer as a consequence of her mother's poor decisions. And that is likely how a court will view it, too.

Customer:

So - - is it possible to settle privately or will the State govern the settlement

texlawyer :

If nothing is ever filed in court, the state will not have the opportunity to get involved.

texlawyer :

Part of your settlement offer to her could also involve health insurance for the child. I'm not sure what your insurance situation is, but if the mother does not have insurance and she's about to get divorced, adding someone else to your plan may be relatively inexpensive for you.

texlawyer :

But it would be very expensive for the mother to go out and purchase it.

Customer:

True however she has multiple children by her first husband - I don't see myself carrying the whole family

texlawyer :

You would not have to. You can only carry your children.

texlawyer :

It may not work out, but it is another bargaining chip you have.

texlawyer :

Before you make her any kind of offer (after you make sure you are indeed the father), you should visit with a local attorney to get a feel for what the judges in your county will likely do with this situation. The judge has very wide discretion whether or not to order retroactive child support, and if so, how much. A local attorney will have a good feel for the tendencies of your local judges.

Customer:

so many puts and take - - the child is 12, she will be making her decision whom to live with in 1 year, I can get joint custody, I have a rare disease that will utimately limit my income, I also have a heart condition, and I hold multiple residence in foriegn countries. Agree that a local attorney discussion would be helpful. Using a calculator for the remaining years I could owe between $80K and $110K however joint custody would carve that down significantly and if the child decided to live with me (I can provide a much better life) then a smaller number. I'm thinking $30K to $40K and done - -

texlawyer :

I think $30-40 sounds a little on the high side to me, but your local lawyers will be able to give you a better idea of where a local judge is likely to come out. Take that figure and reduce it a little.

texlawyer :

Some other states limit retroactive child support to 2 years, so that may be a reasonable starting point. Again, your local attorneys will have a better read on what you can expect from your local judges.

texlawyer :

Do you have any questions?

Customer:

I think I'm done for now - - - but appreciate your professional guidance

Customer:

Have a great day

texlawyer :

My pleasure. If there isn't anything else I can do for you, please remember to "rate" my answer.

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